Two-time Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is preparing to run for Senator from Utah in 2018 if Sen. Orrin Hatch, the senior-most Republican in the Senate, decides to retire, according to a report on Utahpolicy.com.
The report, based on sources close to Romney, said the former Massachusetts governor would jump into the race if Hatch opts not to. A poll by the website found that Romney would start the race with a comfortable lead over Democrat Jenny Wilson, the only announced candidate for the Senate seat.
If Hatch retires, the Senate race could get crowded, experts said.
Rep. Chris Stewart, a Republican from Utah, also indicated he would run if Hatch steps aside. Utah has four congressional districts.
A poll last month by the Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, found that nearly 8-in-10 registered Utah voters don’t think Hatch should seek re-election even though he is chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
A spokesman for Hatch told the Salt Lake Tribune that the senator hopes to make a decision about running for reelection by the end of the year.
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